RCMP catching more impaired drivers
By Nowell Berg
On May 14, City of Kimberley council held its regular bi-monthly meeting.
Councilors Kent Goodwin, Albert Hoglund, Nigel Kitto, Darryl Oakley and Sandra Roberts were present along with Mayor Don McCormick. Coun. Bev Middlebrook attended via speaker phone.
RCMP catching more impaired drivers
Sgt. Chris Newel, Kimberley RCMP Detachment Commander, Kimberley Detachment, presented the January to March (Q1) RCMP report.
He noted there were 19 impaired drivers taken off the roads this past winter, which was 13 more than Q1 2017. While people continue to drive impaired, he said the big increase over 2017 was because “we’re just catching more.”
During 2018 Q1, the RCMP received 416 calls for service, an “insignificant” 16 more than Q1 2017. “With our low crime rate, the calls for service don’t fluctuate that much,” Newel said.
The largest single category was traffic incident or suspension at 82. The second largest category was abandoned 911 calls at 44.
Sgt. Newell’s report indicates officers undertook “25 bar checks and 93 foot patrols through various venues including hockey games, [the] ski hill and the Platzl.”
In terms of resources, a new officer has been named to fill one of the vacant positions. They are expected to be available by mid-June in time for the up-coming busy summer season.
Mayor McCormick asked Sgt. Newel if the impending cannabis legalization would impact the detachment’s ability to take action on impaired driving.
Sgt. Newel answered: “We haven’t received any direction, or very little direction [from RCMP Headquarters]. They are canvassing us for drug recognition experts. They are mostly targeting traffic services to get involved in that.”
Nordic Club asks for pothole relief
Kennedy prefaced his comments saying the KNC is the third largest ski club in BC and fourth largest in Canada with over 1200 members. The club has worked decades to build itself into a world-class facility. The club estimates there were 20,000 skier days this past season. He noted the parking lot is full every weekend and Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Kennedy pointed out the city is responsible for snow clearing and maintaining the parking lot. He showed photographs of the parking lot with dozens of “deep and dangerous” potholes. He also showed photos of other city-owned parking lots at Centennial Hall, Civic Centre and Aquatic Centre that are well maintained and kept clear of snow during winter.
The club spent over $1,300 for a private contractor to clear snow this past winter, Kennedy noted.
“We’re a non-profit; that money is missed elsewhere,” he said. Adding, “The city has responsibility and signed [an] agreement that they would clear the snow. It [snow clearing] wasn’t adequate this year. Several times school buses were stuck there, SUVs were stuck there. We did it [cleared snow] out of necessity.”
“This is shameful, this parking lot is shameful. When tourists arrive in Kimberley and they’re going Nordic skiing the first thing they see is this parking lot. The last thing they see when they leave is this parking lot,” Kennedy said.
This past winter he received numerous complaints from tourists about the condition of the parking lot.
Kennedy asked council and the city to do four things:
1 – plow the snow at a priority level the same as Centennial Hall;
2 – grade and maintain to the same level as other city parking lots;
3 – expand the lot by cutting into the bank and moving the ditch;
4 – build an over-flow lot.
In summing up, Kennedy said, “It’s time the city treated this club the way it should be treated and that means putting it on a higher [snow clearing] priority.”
Council was sympathetic to Kennedy’s argument.
Coun. Goodwin said he’d grant Kennedy his four requests. “One and two are probably going to be easier than three and four.”
He noted that item four would take more time and planning. “We have to do something with the parking lot; it’s our parking lot.”
Along with suggesting the need for a broader plan for the parking lot, Coun. Oakley said, “Something has to change here. You can’t have a parking lot like that anymore.”
City chief administrative officer (CAO)Scott Sommerville indicated the city would look at determining the cost of a major repair to the lot along with costs and timing on possible expansion. “What I’m hearing is that something needs to be absolutely done before ski season starts this fall.”
Kennedy agreed with Sommerville’s statement. With that, he thanked council for their comments and looks forward to working with city staff to resolve the parking lot issues.
Bylaw Enforcement and Animal Control
Council received the April report outlining the activities of the Bylaw Enforcement Officer (BEO).
One item concerns the number of derelict and unlicensed vehicles on city streets. Ten such vehicles were reported and the BEO handed out 10 warnings to the offending residents. Eight of those vehicles were removed from city streets.
The BEO is “actively working towards voluntary compliance related to Business License renewal.” Three complaints were received about businesses operating without a license.
And, in a case of high crimes and misdemeanors, “Two “NO SMOKING” signs were stolen from the Platzl.”
In terms of animal control, dogs running off-leash and at-large continues. Of the five residents cited for this infraction, four were given a warning and one received a $75 ticket.
Public information never stops. The report noted, “Animal control continues to educate dog owners on the importance of cleaning up after your pet.”
Kimberley city council meets twice monthly. All meetings start at 7 p.m. and are open to the public.
The next regular council meeting is scheduled for May 28.
Lead image: A check stop held in Kimberley earlier this year. Photo courtesy Sgt. Chris Newel